η πατριαρχία σ' αυτή την κοινωνία τελειώνει στα μπουρδέλα, αρχίζει στα σχολεία

Κυριακή, 27 Δεκεμβρίου 2009

Κάλεσμα στην Πορεία από την Αντιφασιστική Πρωτοβουλία

Το τελευταίο διάστημα παρατηρείται έξαρση ρατσιστικών και φασιστικών επιθέσεων εναντίον μεταναστών και νεαρών κυρίως στην εντός των τειχών Λευκωσία και πιο συγκεκριμένα στην περιοχή της Φανερωμένης. Οι επιθέσεις αυτές δεν είναι άσχετες με την εμφάνιση και δράση νεοφασιστικών ομάδων τα τελευταία χρόνια στην Κύπρο. Η διαδικασία επανένωσης του τόπου και η παγκόσμια οικονομική κρίση δημιουργούν συνθήκες που οι νεοφασιστικές ομάδες προσπαθούν να εκμεταλλευτούν, με στόχο την καλλιέργεια της ξενοφοβίας και την παρεμπόδιση της λύσης του Κυπριακού.

Στις 27 του Δεκέμβρη συγκεκριμένη νεοφασιστική ομάδα, το ΕΛΑΜ, διοργανώνει πορεία με σύνθημα “ένας ξένος εργάτης = ένας άνεργος”, το οποίο παραπέμπει άμεσα στο ναζιστικό σύνθημα “4 000 000 Εβραίοι ίσον 4 000 000 άνεργοι”, που άνοιξε το δρόμο στο Ολοκαύτωμα.

Η σύνδεσή τους με νεοναζιστικές ομάδες του εξωτερικού, όπως την ελληνική “Χρυσή Αυγή”, την ιταλική Forza Nuova και το γερμανικό, ακροδεξιό κόμμα NPD καθώς και με τις ξεκάθαρες αναφορές στην ΕΟΚΑ Β και στο δικτάτορα Μεταξά, με πορείες στρατιωτικού τύπου σε κεντρικούς δρόμους της Λευκωσίας κατά τη διάρκεια των οποίων επιτίθενται σε μετανάστες, δείχνουν το πραγματικό τους πρόσωπο.

Θέλουν να δημιουργήσουν κοινωνική ένταση και να μας οδηγήσουν σε σκοτεινές εποχές του παρελθόντος, των οποίων οι μνήμες είναι ακόμα νωπές και οι συνέπειες τραγικές.

Καλούμε όλους τους ευαισθητοποιημένους και δημοκρατικούς πολίτες και φορείς, τις οργανώσεις νεολαίας, τα κόμματα και τις συντεχνίες, να αντισταθούν δυναμικά και έμπρακτα σ’ αυτή την απειλή.

Στην Κύπρο, αλλά και σ’ ολόκληρο τον κόσμο, έχουμε βιώσει το φασισμό και τις συνέπειές του. Η κοινωνία δεν πρέπει να τους αφήσει να δράσουν ανενόχλητοι για ακόμη μια φορά. Αυτή τη φορά θα πρέπει να μας βρουν μπροστά τους. Κανένα δημοκρατικό δικαίωμα σ’ αυτούς που θέλουν να καταργήσουν τη δημοκρατία.

Καμία ανοχή στους εχθρούς της ελευθερίας! Καμία ανοχή στο φασισμό!

Όλοι μαζί στην αντιφασιστική – αντιρατσιστική πορεία την Κυριακή, 27 Δεκεμβρίου 2009 και ώρα 15.30 στην Πλατεία Ελευθερίας.

Αντιφασιστική Πρωτοβουλία

Τηλέφωνα επικοινωνίας : 99 583947, 99 418575, 99 372147

αντιφασιστική πορεία

Σάββατο, 5 Δεκεμβρίου 2009

ΕΝΑ ΧΡΟΝΟ ΜΕΤΑ: ΚΑΝΕΝΑΣ ΔΕ ΞΕΧΝΑ, ΤΙΠΟΤΑ ΔΕ ΞΕΧΝΙΕΤΑΙ ΟΛΑ ΣΥΝΕΧΙΖΟΝΤΑΙ 6/12/08

Ένας χρόνος μετά από την εν ψυχρώ δολοφονία του Αλέξη από τις δυνάμεις καταστολής στο κέντρο της Αθήνας. Ένας χρόνος από την κοινωνική εξέγερση που ξέσπασε με αφορμή αυτό το γεγονός. Κανένας μας δεν μπορεί να ξεχάσει αυτά τα γεγονότα που συντάραξαν όχι μόνο την Ελλάδα αλλά και ολόκληρο τον κόσμο. Σε πάρα πολλές πόλεις του κόσμου, μεταξύ τους η Πάφος, η Λευκωσία , η Λάρνακα και η Λεμεσός, έγιναν παρεμβάσεις και πορείες αλληλεγγύης στους εξεγερμένους.

Η εξέγερση αυτή αφορά όλους μας. Στην θέση του Αλέξη μπορούσε να ήταν ο καθένας από εμάς αφού ο κρατικός κατασταλτικός μηχανισμός, αλλιώς αστυνομία, δεν αναγνωρίζει ούτε ηλικία, ούτε φύλο. Στην θέση του Αλέξη μπορούσε να ήταν οποιοδήποτε άτομο με «αποκλίνουσα συμπεριφορά», οποιοσδήποτε μετανάστης ή μετανάστρια που παλεύει για ένα κομμάτι ψωμί, οποιοδήποτε καταπιεζόμενο άτομο. Η αστυνομία είναι παντού η ίδια και βασίζεται πάνω στα ίδια θεμέλια. Κτύπα και βασανίζει με σκοπό την προάσπιση των συμφερόντων των κρατούντων. Τα αίτια της εξέγερσης όμως δεν περιορίζονται μόνο στην κρατική καταστολή αλλά και στη γενικευμένη μείωση του βιοτικού επιπέδου στην Ελλάδα όπως και στον υπόλοιπο «πρώτο κόσμο».

Η «ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ» ΤΟΥΣ

Είμαστε ήδη όμως στη θέση των καταπιεσμένων! Είμαστε οι γενιά που όπως λένε «θα περάσει χειρότερα από την προηγούμενη». Είμαστε οι υπάλληλοι της επισφαλούς εργασίας και των ελαστικών οραρίων. Είμαστε τα παιδιά της οικονομικής κρίσης. Είμαστε οι ηλικιωμένοι χωρίς συντάξεις και οι «παράνομοι» και «νόμιμοι» μετανάστες. Είμαστε οι εγκλωβισμένοι στην κίνηση οδηγοί. Είμαστε η νεολαία με friends στο Facebook. Είμαστε η γενιά που τον ελεύθερο της χρόνο τον περνά στα στοιχήματα. Είμαστε οι τηλεθεατές των δελτίων των 8 και των αστυνομικών σειρών. Είμαστε οι άνθρωποι που ξέχασαν τι πάει να πει δέντρο και φύση. Είμαστε οι καταναλωτές των μεταλλαγμένων και των fast food. Είμαστε τα ρομπότ της ρουτίνας.

ΕΙΜΑΣΤΕ ΠΑΝΤΟΥ!

Δεν έχουμε να χωρίσουμε τίποτε από τους καταπιεσμένους ανθρώπους ανά την υφήλιο. Είτε αυτοί είναι πεινασμένα παιδιά στην Αφρική, είτε ιθαγενείς υπό εξαφάνιση στην Αμερική, είτε είναι Τούρκοι, Έλληνες, Πακιστανοί κτλ. Στεκόμαστε αλληλέγγυοι σε κάθε κοινωνική εξέγερση που εναντιώνεται στις πιο πάνω συνθήκες ζωής. Συμπαραστεκόμαστε σε όλους αυτούς τους ανθρώπους που δεν βολεύονται αλλά προτιμούν να διεκδικήσουν την ζωή τους και όσα ο καπιταλισμός τους έχει κλέψει. Ας γίνουμε ο χειρότερος εφιάλτης των αφεντικών και άλλων εκμεταλλευτών που πλουτίζουν πάνω στις δικές μας πλάτες. Μπορούμε όλοι μαζί να αποφασίζουμε για εμάς και να μην αφήνουμε αυτούς να το κάνουν. Να οργανώσουμε όπως εμείς θέλουμε τις ζωές μας έξω από κάθε τι που μας τσακίζει τα όνειρα. Να μετατρέψουμε την καθημερινή μας ζωή σε αγώνα για την Ελευθερία.

4/12/09 Κάποιες/οι από Μανώλη
6η Δεκεμβρίου 2008 : Ο 15χρονος Αλέξανδρος Γρηγορόπουλος δολοφονείται στο κέντρο της Αθήνας εν ψυχρώ από ένα δολοφόνο-αστυνομικό

Στις 5 Δεκεμβρίου 2009΄κανουμε ενα μεγάλο πάρτυ δρόμου αφιερωμένο στον Αλέξανδρο Γρηγορόπουλο που δολοφονήθηκε απο το κράτος. Το πάρτυ θα ξεκινήσει με προβολές απο τις διαδηλώσεις του Δεκέμβρη στην Ελλαδα. Μετά θα γίνει συμβολική πορεία προς την Ελληνική Πρεσβεία που θα καταλήξει πίσω στην Πλατεία Φανερωμένης. 

Θ’ ακολουθήσει το πάρτυ με ροκ, μέταλ και πανκ μουσική .

ΑΝΟΙΧΤΟ ΓΙΑ ΟΛΟΥΣ!

Νεολαία από τη Φανερωμένη

Τετάρτη, 14 Οκτωβρίου 2009

Οι δημόσιοι χώροι ανήκουν σε όλους

Το Σάββατο 17 Οκτωβρίου 2009, διοργανώνουμε φεστιβάλ διαμαρτυρίας για την επίθεση της αστυνομίας σε νεαρούς που διασκέδαζαν στην Πλατεία Φανερωμένης. Θεωρούμε ότι οι δημόσιοι χώροι ανήκουν σε όλους που τους χρησιμοποιούν, πολίτες και μετανάστες, άντρες και γυναίκες, νέους και γέρους ανεξάρτητα από την εθνικότητα τους, την εμφάνιση τους ή τις πολιτικές τους πεποιθήσεις. Η προσπάθεια της αστυνομίας να ποινικοποιήσει την παρουσία της νεολαίας στην Πλατεία της Φανερωμένης θα συναντήσει την αντίσταση μας. Θέλουμε ζωντανές πλατείες όπου οι άνθρωποι θα κοινωνικοποιούνται ελεύθερα. Η αστυνομική τρομοκρατία στην παλιά πόλη δεν θα περάσει.

Το φεστιβάλ που θα γίνει στην Πλατεία Φανερωμένης θα περιλαμβάνει γκραφφίτι σε καμβά, παράσταση δρόμου, προβολές και μουσική. Θα αρχίσει στις 17.00 το απόγευμα και θα συνεχιστεί μέχρι τις 12.00. Δεν θα υπάρχουν ομιλίες αλλά μερικές σύντομες παρεμβάσεις από νεαρούς/ες Κύπριους και μετανάστες που έτυχαν κακομεταχείρισης από την αστυνομία και δηλώσεις στήριξης στο δικαίωμα συνάθροισης στη Πλατεία Φανερωμένης.

Συνδιοργανωτές:
Νεολαία της Φανερωμένης
Κίνηση Πολιτών ALERT
Κίνηση κατοίκων Άγρυπνοι εντός των τειχών

Στηρίζει η
Κίνηση για Ισότητα, Στήριξη και Αντι-ρατσισμό (ΚΙΣΑ)

Τρίτη, 13 Οκτωβρίου 2009

Ερώτηση κρίσεως

Ερώτηση κρίσεως: "Πώς κρίνετε τον τρόπο με τον οποίο η Αστυνομία προσπαθεί να επιβάλει το νόμο και την τάξη;"

Απαντήστε και κερδίστε εξάρτυση διαδηλώσεων ή μία τριήμερη διαμονή σε πεντάστερο ξενοδοχείο του γνωστού συγκροτήματος "αστυνομικά κρατητήρια Κύπρου" με όλα τα έξοδα πληρωμένα.

Μια ευγενική χορηγία του "φιλελευθέρου" σε συνεργασία με το αστυνομικό σώμα Κύπρου και την ευγενική χορηγία του ομίλου "οι ράμπο" που στηρίζεται από τον υπουργό αδικίας, ξύλου και ιδιωτικού συμφέροντος.

http://www.philenews.com/main/1,1,22,0,19544-.aspx

Προσεχώς διαγωνισμός πιο "εύηχου" ονόματος κίνησης.

Πέμπτη, 1 Οκτωβρίου 2009

ΔΙΑΔΗΛΩΣΗ ΑΛΛΗΛΕΓΓΥΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΔΙΑΜΑΡΤΥΡΙΑΣ

Διαδήλωση αλληλεγγύης στους μετανάστες και πρόσφυγες και διαμαρτυρία ενάντια στο ρατσισμό και την αστυνομική βαρβαρότητα

Κυριακή 4 Οκτωβρίου 11.00 πμ Πλατεία Ελευθερίας

ΠΑΤΡΙΔΑ ΜΑΣ ΟΛΗ Η ΓΗ

ΕΙΜΑΣΤΕ ΟΛΟΙ ΜΕΤΑΝΑΣΤΡΙΕΣ

Στις 25/9/09 ολόκληρο το ιστορικό κέντρο της Λευκωσίας αστυνομοκρατείτο από πέραν των 250 μελών της αστυνομίας με σκοπό τις συλλήψεις «παράνομων» μεταναστών.

Επιχειρήσεις «σκούπα», έλεγχοι, ξύλο και τρομοκρατία από μπάτσους, αστυνομική βαρβαρότητα, σπάσιμο εισόδων, βιασμοί από εργοδότες και όχι μόνο, καθημερινός εξευτελισμός στο χώρο εργασίας, καθημερινός εξευτελισμός και ξυλοδαρμοί από ξενοφοβικούς, ρατσιστές και φασίστες, καθημερινός εξευτελισμός από αρχές και ιδιώτες. Αυτά περιλαμβάνει η ρουτίνα χιλιάδων μεταναστών/τριών που έρχονται στην Κύπρο αλλά και σε όλη την Ευρώπη με στόχο μία καλύτερη ζωή για τους ίδιους/ες και τις οικογένειές τους.

Τα τελευταία γεγονότα απέδειξαν περίτρανα πόσο αρμονικά λειτουργούν μεταξύ τους οι εξουσιαστικοί θεσμοί. Για μήνες τώρα, αλλά κυρίως την εβδομάδα πριν από την επιχείρηση «σκούπα», τα Μέσα Μαζικής Εξαπάτησης πρόβαλλαν συνεχώς πως «έχει καταντήσει γκέτο η Παλιά Λευκωσία» και πως «οι κάτοικοι απαιτούν περισσότερη αστυνόμευση». Καθημερινά παρέλαυναν μπροστά στις τηλεοπτικές κάμερες κάθε λογής «υπεύθυνοι» και «αρμόδιοι» να μας διαβεβαιώσουν πως θα ληφθούν μέτρα. Η δήμαρχος της Λευκωσίας, Ελένη Μαύρου, με δηλώσεις της και εμφανίσεις της στα ΜΜΕ ζητούσε περισσότερη αστυνόμευση της εντός των τειχών πόλης και δικαιολογούσε τα αισθήματα ρατσισμού και ξενοφοβίας των Κυπρίων ως «αποτέλεσμα της όλης συμπεριφοράς των μεταναστών», οι οποίοι «δείχνουν να μην σέβονται τη χώρα που τους φιλοξενεί». Η κα Μαύρου δεν βλέπει τα χάλια του δήμου της, εξαιτίας του οποίου οι κάτοικοι της εντός των τειχών πόλης ζουν μες στη βρωμιά και τη δυσωδία από τα σκουπίδια, της έφταιξαν όμως οι μετανάστες για το ότι η παλιά πόλη έχει εγκαταλειφθεί παντελώς. Κανείς από αυτούς τους κυρίους/κυρίες δεν έχει προφανώς περπατήσει κάποια νύκτα στην Παλιά Λευκωσία για να διαπιστώσει πως όσα λέγονται περί «γκέτο» είναι όλα ψέματα. Κανείς δεν έχει αντιληφθεί ότι την εικόνα της παραδοσιακής Λευκωσίας είναι τα πολύβουα και φωταγωγημένα κλαμπ που την καταστρέφουν και όχι οι μετανάστες που έχουν δώσει κυριολεκτικά ζωή στην παλιά πόλη, η οποία έχει εγκαταλειφθεί και περιφρονηθεί από όλους τους «αρμοδίους».

Εκεί ακριβώς εμφανίζεται και η αστυνομία, ως «απομηχανής θεός», που θα «σώσει» τους κατοίκους από το «μένος» των μεταναστών. Με αυτό τον τρόπο η αστυνομία «δικαιολογεί» τον εξουσιαστικό και καταπιεστικό της ρόλο μέσα στην κοινωνία και παράλληλα το κράτος παρουσιάζεται ως «λυτρωτής» των κατοίκων.

Παράλληλα, μέσα σε όλο αυτό το θέατρο του παραλόγου, γινόμαστε μάρτυρες μιας περαιτέρω ενοχοποίησης των μεταναστών χωρίς χαρτιά και των προσφύγων, οι οποίοι αποκαλούνται ως «λαθρομετανάστες» . Τα ΜΜΕ δείχνουν να είναι πιο «ανεκτικά» με τους νόμιμους μετανάστες κι επιλέγουν να μην αναγνωρίζουν ότι όταν ένας άνθρωπος προσφυγοποιείται και εκτοπίζεται από τον τόπο του επειδή διώκεται πολιτικά ή λόγω ενός πολέμου ή λόγω της φτώχιας είναι πιθανόν να μην έχει τη δυνατότητα να ακολουθήσει νόμιμες διαδικασίες για να μεταβεί σε μία άλλη χώρα. Είναι μήπως εγκληματίας αυτός ο άνθρωπος, που, παρεμπιπτόντως, θα δώσει ότι έχει και δεν έχει στους μαφιόζους του trafficking για να φτάσει στην Ευρώπη; Επίσης, κανείς δεν αναγνωρίζει ότι στην Κύπρο η παραμονή των περισσότερων μεταναστών χωρίς χαρτιά οφείλεται στο ίδιο το κράτος και τις πολιτικές του, που μεταχειρίζονται τους μετανάστες ως σκλάβους με «ημερομηνία λήξης» και όχι ως ανθρώπους με δικαιώματα και ευκαιρίες. Δυστυχώς, ως εγκληματίες παρουσιάζονται αυτοί οι άνθρωποι τόσο από τα ΜΜΕ όσο και από τους εκπροσώπους του κράτους (βλ. δηλώσεις Υπουργού Δικαιοσύνης και Δημόσιας Τάξης, Λουκά Λουκά, για την πρόσφατη επιχείρηση «σκούπα», η οποία, σύμφωνα με τον κ. Λουκά, σκοπό είχε «την πάταξη της εγκληματικότητας»).

Έτσι, τα συνήθη θύματα αυτής της κοινωνίας, βρέθηκαν πρόσφατα «ένοχα» για ένα ακόμα «έγκλημα»: στην έλλειψη στεγαστικής πολιτικής, είναι αναγκασμένοι να διαμένουν και οι ίδιοι/ες και οι οικογένειές τους στις τρώγλες που οι Κύπριοι ιδιοκτήτες τους νοικιάζουν έναντι αδρής αμοιβής. Και για αυτό τους το «έγκλημα» η ετυμηγορία του κράτους είναι να παραμείνουν χωρίς καθόλου στέγη πάνω από τα κεφάλια τους. Όσο απάνθρωπες είναι οι επιχειρήσεις «σκούπα», άλλο τόσο απάνθρωπη είναι και η εισήγηση που συζητείται στη βουλή και που διαφημίζεται από τον κ. Λουκά για να θεσπιστεί νόμος που να μην επιτρέπει σε ιδιοκτήτες να ενοικιάζουν υποστατικά σε μετανάστες χωρίς χαρτιά. Δηλαδή όλοι αυτοί οι άνθρωποι που θα μείνουν; Στο δρόμο; Αυτή η εισήγηση μάλιστα παρουσιάζεται ως «δίκαιη», επειδή φαίνεται να επιρρίπτει ευθύνες και στους ιδιοκτήτες. Σε τελική όμως ανάλυση πάλι τους μετανάστες και τους πρόσφυγες πλήττει.

Από τη στιγμή που σιωπούμε μπροστά στο σύστημα της παγκόσμιας εξαθλίωσης, πρέπει να δεχτούμε και τις συνέπειές του που δεν είναι άλλες από την προσφυγιά και την μετανάστευση από τον λεγόμενο «τρίτο κόσμο» στον «πρώτο» κόσμο. Σ’ αυτόν τον κόσμο της εξαθλίωσης, της φτώχιας και της πείνας, της καταπίεσης, των επιχειρήσεων «σκούπα», της ανισότητας και της ανελευθερίας, εμείς δεν μπορούμε παρά να στεκόμαστε απέναντί του. Δεν μπορούμε παρά να σταθούμε αλληλέγγυοι σε όσους δέχονται την στυγνή σωματική και κάθε είδους βία από τους εξουσιαστές και τα αφεντικά. Δεν μπορούμε παρά να καταργήσουμε τις όποιες προκαταλήψεις έχουμε και να πολεμήσουμε για το δίκαιο των καταπιεζομένων.

ΚΑΝΕΝΑΣ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ ΔΕΝ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΛΑΘΡΑΙΟΣ
Η ΑΛΛΗΛΕΓΓΥΗ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΤΟ ΟΠΛΟ ΤΩΝ ΛΑΩΝ

Σεπτέμβρης 2009
Αυτόνομη Δράση Αντιεξουσιαστών
www.adakiprus.blogspot.com
adakiprus@hotmail.com

Τετάρτη, 23 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009

Το δάκτυλο μες στο μέλι τζιε οι σχέσεις εξουσίας

Το όλο concept μου για τις σχέσεις εξουσίας συνοψίζεται σε μια φράση που αθυμούμαι που μωρό να ακούω που τον μακαρίτη τον παππού μου να λαλεί κάθε φορά που οι συζητήσεις των μεγάλων αφορούσαν την πολιτική/ τους πολιτικούς: "Εν έσσιει κανένα που εν να βουττήσει το δάκτυλό του μες στο ποτσούι με το μέλι τζιε εν θα το γλείψει." Που ήμουν πολλά μιτσιά τζιε άκουα τούντη κουβέντα, εφαίνετούν μου πολλά αστεία. Άμα εμεγάλωσα λίο, τούτη η κουβέντα έβαλλέ με σε σκέψεις. Μια φορά ερώτησα τον παππού "Παππού, εν νομίζεις ότι εν λίο απαισιόδοξο τούτο που λαλείς?" "Όι, εν η αλήθκεια," λαλεί μου, "εσύ άμα βουττήσεις το δάχτυλό σου μες στο βάζο με το μέλι, εν θα το γλείψεις ύστερα?" "ναι, αλλά άμα ξέρω ότι τούτο εν βλάψει κάποιους άλλους, εν θα το γλείψω. Εν να το πλύνω το δάχτυλό μου," απαντώ του, με την αθωώτητα ενός παιδιού. "Όι, μάνα μου, εν θα το πλύνεις. Άμα εν θέλεις να εκμεταλλευτείς άλλους ανθρώπους, εν θα το εβούττας το δάχτυλό σου που μιας αρκής μες στο μέλι" απάντησέ μου ο παππούς. Τότε εν επολλοκατάλαβα την απάντηση του παππού. Αλλά πάντα εστριφογύριζε μες στο νου μου. Πλέον θεωρώ τούντην απλοϊκή μεταφορά του αγράμματου παππού μου την πιο σοφή κουβέντα που άκουσα για τις σχέσεις εξουσίας. Νομίζω ότι αποτυπώνει πολλά ξεκάθαρα τζιε απλά τις σχέσεις εξουσίας. Γιατί όντως, εν έσσιει κανένα που εν να βουττήσει το δάχτυλό του μες στο ποτσούι με το μέλι τζιε εν θα το γλείψει, τζιε εν θα το ξαναβουττήσει τζιε να το ξαναγλείψει, ξανά τζιε ξανά. Άλλοι εν να το βουττήσουν πιο πολλές φορές τζιε άλλοι πιο λίες, αλλά εν η αλήθκεια ότι τζίνος που εν θέλει να γλείψει το μέλι, εν θα εβουττούσε το δάχτυλό του μες στο ποτσούι με το μέλι που μιας αρκής.

Κυριακή, 30 Αυγούστου 2009

παιδικά γενέθλια

Πήγαμε σήμερα με την κόρη μου σε παιδικό πάρτυ γενεθλίων. Ένα βασανιστήριο που έμοιαζε ατελείωτο, αλλά, ευτυχώς, τελικά, τελείωσε. Ο απολογισμός ακολουθεί συνοπτικά.

Τα παιδιά να τσιριλούν, να πηαίνουν τζιε να έρκουνται "μάμα, θέλω νερό. μάμα, εχτύπησα. ΜΑΜΑ....." τζιε πάει. Να σύρνουν χαρτιά χαμέ, να κάμνουν πείσματα, να δέρνουν το ένα το άλλο (κάτι τέθκιες φάσεις θυμούμαι τον Ηρώδη...)

Οι μαμάδες να κάθουνται στα τραπεζάκια κοντά στα παιγνίδια για να επιβλέπουν τα παιδιά τζιε οι παπάδες να κάθουνται πάρατζει. Οι μαμάδες να βουρούν συνέχεια τα μωρά πάνω κάτω, να τους βάλουν να φαν τζιε να πιούν, να τα σκουπίζουν που ίδρωσαν απ' το παιγνίδι τζιε οι παπάδες να θωρούν μάππα. Οι μαμάδες να συζητούν για τα καμάρια τους τζιε τα επιτεύγματά τους (των καμαριών τους πάντα, όι τα δικά τους) τζιε οι παπάδες να μιλούν για μάππα. Οι μαμάδες να πίνουν χυμό τζιε οι παπάδες να πίνουν μπύρα...

Εγώ άφησα την κόρη μου στα παιγνίδια να παίξει με την ησυχία της, έπιασα μια μπύρα τζιε έκατσα κάπου στη μέση του σκηνικού τζιε εσκέφτουν μου ότι εν μπορεί να τον ζω τούντον παραλογισμό, εν γίνεται ακόμα οι οικογένειες, τα ζευγάρια, να συμπεριφέρουνται με τούντο τρόπο. Αλλού να κάθουνται οι άντρες τζιε αλλού οι γυναίκες τζιε ενώ είμαστε ούλλοι γονείς, οι "ανησυχίες" των αντρών να είναι εντελώς διαφορετικές από τις "ανησυχίες" των γυναικών. Δηλαδή σε τί διαφέρει τούτη η κατάσταση που την κατάσταση την εποχή των γιαγιάδων τζιε των προγιαγιάδων μας? ΤΖΙΕ ΤΙ ΓΥΡΕΥΚΩ ΕΓΩ ΔΑΜΕ? (ας όψεται η κόρη μου για τούτο)

Σε κάποια φάση εφώναξέ μου μια μάμα να πάω να κάτσω τζιε εγώ στην άκρη με τις άλλες μαμάδες. Αν τζιε εν είχα καμία όρεξη, επέμενε τζιε αναγκαστικά επήα, να μεν φαίνομαι αγενής τζιε προκλητική, μίσσιη μου. Έκατσα τζιε άκουά τες να μιλούν για μωρά τζιε κρέμες, για γρήγορες συνταγές μαγειρικής τζιε ζαχαροπλαστικής, για τα σχολεία τζιε ένα σωρό άλλα τέθκια τζιε εσσιηλοβαρκούμουν αφόρητα. Κάποια στιγμή ερωτήσαν με τί κάμνω. Είπα τους ότι δουλεύκω σε μια ΜΚΟ τζιε ότι κάμνω το μάστερ μου. Όταν ακουσαν μάστερ, η αντίδρασή τους ήταν η ακόλουθη: "μάστερ, όι μάνα μου, χαράς την όρεξή σου, πού κολλά το θκιάβασμα με την οικογένεια? Πού βρίσκεις τον χρόνο? Φυσικά εσύ εν τζιε έσσιεις άντρα τζιε έσσιεις τζιε μόνο ένα μωρό... Εμείς όμως έχουμε αντράες τζιε 2-3 κουπελλούθκια, τί να το κάμουμε το μάστερ?" Είπα να φανώ ευγενική τζιε να μεν τους πω πού να μπήξουν τις χαζοοικογένειές τους τζιε ειδικότερα τους χαζοαντράες τους που εν ασχολούνται ούτε μαζί τους ούτε με τα κουπελλούθκια τους. Εχαμογέλασα σφιγμένα τζιε εσκέφτηκα πόσο κενές πρέπει να ένι οι ζωές τους.

Στη συνέχεια, εζητήσαν επεξήγηση για την δουλειά μου τζιε όταν ακούσαν "βοηθούμε μετανάστες," ήταν σαν να έππεσε πόμπα... "Μα τες Σριλανκέζες?" πετάσσεται μια. "Τζιε τες Σριλανκέζες τζιε ούλλους τους μεταναστες τζιε πρόσφυγες" απαντώ της. "Μα ούλλη μέρα λαλείτε για τα δικαιώματα των Σριλανκέζων. Για τα δικά μας δικαιώματα, ποιός να πει? Αν έχω εγώ παράπονο που την Σριλανκέζα μου, πού να πάω να το πω?" "Στον ατζέντη που επλήρωσες για να τα κανονίσει," λαλώ της τζιε εσιώπησε. Τζιε κάπου δαμέ αρκέψαν να λαλεί η κάθεμιά τα παράπονά της που την "Σριλανκέζα" της. "Εμένα η δική μου έσσιει την απαίτηση να πιάνει οφ κάθε Κυριακή" "Εμένα η δική μου εψές που της εζήτησα να κάμει μπάνιο τον μιτσή, είπε μου ότι δουλεύκει παραπάνω που 8 ώρες την μέρα, γιατί προσέχει τζιε τον παπά μου. Θέλουν τζιε ωράριο, κύριε ελεησον" "Καλό, καλό..." "Καλά ρε κοπέλες, εσείς εν έσσιετε ωράριο στην δουλειά σας? Δέχεστε να δουλεύκετε 7 μέρες την εβτομάδα, 24 ώρες την ημέρα?" ρωτώ τες "Οκσά νομίζετε ότι οι οικιακές σας βοηθοί εν εν άνθρωποι, εν έχουν δικαιώματα, εν χρειάζονται ξεκούραση..." "Μα τόσα λεφτά που τους διούμε" "Ναι? Πόσα? 280 ευρώ τον μήνα? Εσείς θα εδέχεστουν να δουλεύκετε με τούντον μισθό?" ρωτώ τες. "Εγώ εν 292 ευρώ που διώ της δικής μου" λαλεί μια "¨Τζιε εγώ 310" πετάσσεται μια άλλη (εγώ τραβώ νοητικά τα μαλιά μου). "Τζιε εσείς θα εδουλεύκατε για 310 ευρώ τον μήνα?" ρωτώ τες. "Μα ούτε ενοίκιο έχουν, ούτε λοβαρκασμούς, ούτε φόρους, ούτε ψουμνίσματα" απαντά μου μια "Ναι, τζιε επίσης εν έχουν ούτε προσωπική ζωή τζιε εν 24 ώρες την ημέρα σε εγρήγορση" λαλώ τους. Τζιε κάπου δαμέ έδωκε η κάθεμιά μες στο πιάτο της τζιε άλλαξε η συζήτηση. 

Κύριο θέμα της συζήτησης που ακολούθησε ήταν ποιά έσσιει το μεγαλύττερο σπίτι, το πιο ακριβό αυτοκίνητο τζιε ποιάς ο άντρας έσσιει την καλύττερη δουλειά. 

Εσκέφτουμουν πως εν πολλά γελοίο το πως κάποιοι άνθρωποι νομίζουν πως εν καλύττεροι που άλλους λόγω της αξίας του σπιθκιού τζιε του αυτοκινήτου τους τζιε εν τραγικό πως κάποιες γυναίκες μετρούν την αξία τους σύμφωνα με την δουλειά του συζύγου τους. Τζιε ενώ νομίζουν πως με τούτα ανεβαίνει η αξία τους ως άνθρωποι, ταυτόχρονα καταπιέζουν τζιε εκμεταλλεύκουνται άλλους συνανθρώπους τους, τους οποίους δεν αναγνωρίζουν καν ως ανθρωπους επειδή το χρωμα τους εν πιο σκούρο (που τζιε τούτο εν ακόμα πιο γελοίο αν σκεφτείς ότι ο μέσος κυπραίος εν εν πολλά πιο ανοιχτόχρωμος που την οικιακή του βοηθό). Τζιε εν ακόμα πιο εξοργιστική η διαπίστωση ότι, τούτες οι γενέτζες που συμπεριφέρουνται με τούντο τρόπο στις οικιακές τους βοηθούς, ένι στην ουσία οι ίδιες οι οικιακοί βοηθοί (και όχι μόνο) των συζύγων τους. Οικιακοί βοηθοί που καταπιέζονται που τους συζύγους τους τζιε με την σειρά τους καταπιέζουν τις δικές τους οικιακές βοηθούς, επαναλαμβάνοντας, αναπαράγωντας τζιε διαιωνίζοντας ένα σύστημα εκμετάλλευσης ανθρώπου προς άνθρωπο (άντρα προς γυναίκα, δυτικού προς μη δυτικού, πλούσιου προς φτωχό, κ.ο.κ.) αντί να σπάσουν τα δεσμά τους τζιε να διεκδικήσουν το αυτονόητο. 

Αλλά τί να περιμένεις από γυναίκες που δεν έχουν κανένα ενδιαφέρον, καμιά έγνοια πέρα που τα κουπελλούθκια τους (για τα οποία το "ενδιαφέρον" τζιε η "έγνοια" τους περιορίζεται στο πως να ασκήσουν αποτελεσματικότερο έλεγχο πάνω τους ενώ παράλληλα αππώνουν τα σε σημείο αηδίας, καλλιεργώντας τους έναν εγωισμό, μιαν απάθεια τζιε μιαν αναισθησία που καθρεφτίζουν τους ίδιους τους γονιούς τους), το σπίτι τους (το οποίο σίουρα καταχρωστούν στην τράπεζα, αλλά καμαρώνουν σαν να ήταν ιδιοκτήτες τζιε για το οποίο κοπιάζει η οικιακή βοηθός) τζιε τους συζύγους τους (που όμως καμιά εν είπε ότι εν ερωτευμένη με τον σύντροφό της, η συζήτηση εκινήτουν πέρα που το πόσα φκάλει ο κάθε σύζυγος τζιε πόσο καλός κουβαλητής ένι, ούτε αν εν καλός σύντροφος ούτε αν εν στοργικός παπάς). Ούτε καν εμίλησε καμιά για την δική της δουλειά, τα δικά της ενδιαφέροντα, χόμπι, ξέρω 'γω, κάτι που να έσσιει να κάμει με την ίδια τζιε όι με την προέκτασή της ως σύζυγος, νοικοκυρά, μάμα.

Νοιώθω μεγάλη απογοήτευση κάθε φορά που συναντώ έτσι ανθρώπους τζιε ακόμα παραπάνω έτσι γενέτζες, που εν συνειδητοποιούν ότι το σπίτι για το οποίο καμαρώνουν ππέφτει λίο λίο πάνω τους, καταπλακώνοντάς τες ή ότι τούντο σπίτι εν η ίδια η φυλακή τους (μεγάλη ίσως και επιχρυσωμένη ίσως, αλλά φυλακή), στην οποία αυτοεγκλωβίστηκαν τζιε εγκλώβισαν τζιε τις οικιακές τους βοηθούς τζιε τα παιδιά τους...

αφιερωμένο: 

Κυριακή, 23 Αυγούστου 2009

The Diggers: their proposal for the abolition of hierarchical structures and the revivification of their agenda in the 1960s

“…the powerless and landless English people
are the subjects, not the objects, of the Revolution.“
(Holstun, 405)

In the 1649, while the post-revolutionary England faced a remarkable economic and political instability, the Diggers, or True Levellers, emerged suggesting the organisation of people in alternative economic, social and political structures. The True Levellers opposed the formation of society in hierarchical structures and argued for the organisation of society in small egalitarian communities. They attempted to realise their agenda and put their ideas into practice through their self-organisation into communes. The True Levellers became known as “the Diggers” once they put their ideas into practice and begun to cultivate the land in a communal way. The digging was not a merely symbolic deed, but a deeply political act, since the Diggers argued for a reformation of the society based on an agrarian lifestyle. As Holstun argues, “…the Diggers produced the most important seventeenth-century critique of this transformation [the capitalist transformation of English agriculture] from the point of view of its victims.”(Holstun, 377)

The Diggers argued that the common land, which had been in the possession of the King, who had been executed, should be returned to the people, who would organise it in a collective manner and establish a commonwealth. The Diggers´ views were embedded in the belief that England had become subject to the “Norman Yoke,” a belief, which at the time mobilised people against royal power. The same belief was also shared by the Parliament, which, in its endeavours against the King, recruited the collective assistance and the services of landowners as well as the peasantry. After the defeat of the royalist forces led by Charles I, however, the political power of the landowners was increased, whereas the peasants witnessed no change in their favour, no real alteration of the institutions of royal power. Although the peasants, who had shed their blood for the sake of the revolution, had believed that the end of the kingship would entail a drastic change in both the political and the social landscape and that they would take on an active and equal role in the decision making of the new era, the implementation of power in post-revolutionary England proved to have no substantial distinction from that imposed by the King. The poor people were the backbone of the parliamentary forces during the revolution. Likewise, the poor, having no interest in preserving the existing hierarchical structures and economic, social and political inequity, were those who initiated the extension of the revolution beyond the abolition of kingship and towards the abolition of any form of power structures.

The Levellers’ ideas, which had been developed in the ranks of the New Model Army and included the right for universal suffrage, a secular republic, abolition of the House of Lords, equality before the law, the abolition of censorship, freedom of speech, the right for people to worship whatever religion they chose and free trade, begun to fade out. The eruption of the civil war in 1647 allowed the generals to reaffirm their authority, whereas the influence of Levellers was diminished. Leveller soldiers attempted to revolt in Oxfordshire in 1649, but their attempt was cruelly suppressed by Cromwell’s soldiers.

While the Parliament was becoming the new ruling class, England was undergoing one of the worst phases, as far as economy was concerned, in its history. The wars that proceeded led to further economic instability, while the 1640s faced a series of bad harvests and therefore, famine was rising.

In these conditions the Diggers emerged opposing any kind of authority, including that of the Parliament, which had proved itself to be too an oppressive power, similar to kingship. The Diggers argued that “…whatsoever government is set up by Imagination, shall be throwne downe; For every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted out.” (Winstanley, Fire in the Bush. The Spirit burning, not consuming, but purging Mankinde, 21) The Diggers alleged that the natural state of human beings is living in harmony with each other without the existence of any hierarchical structures. Thus, they urged people to unite against any constructed power structures, which should be uprooted – including those of the Parliament.

For the Diggers, the problem with the Parliament was not merely that the Parliamentarians neglected to carry out an all inclusive programme, a programme that would include the active participation of everybody (rich and poor, landowners and landless, aristocracy, as well as wage labourers) in the decision-making. The substantial problem was that the Parliamentarians were not willing to actually alter the power structures and bring tyranny to an end. The Parliamentarians consciously left out the reformation of the institutions of royal power, since their intentions had always been to seize power in their own hands and not to literally give power back to the people.

The Diggers on the other hand argued that since God had made all men equal, the land belongs to everybody and thus, their agenda formed an attempt to establish a commonwealth in which the people would control their own destinies and there would be no space for any King, House of Lords, or any other possible oppressors. They identified the king, the law, propriety and the clergy to be the chief enemies of their utopia. “The first Beast…is Kingly power” (Winstanley, Fire in the Bush. The Spirit burning, not consuming, but purging Mankinde, 24) and that is why they involved themselves in the revolution against the King. However, they realised that royal power is not the only threat to the freedom and the welfare of the people. “The second Beast…is the power of the selfish Lawes.” (25) The Diggers comprehended the law to be another power structure constructed by the ruling class in order to keep them (the poor, landless people) submissive to the existing social order and not active subjects in the public sphere. Another construction reinforced by the ruling class for the subordination of the people is the purchase of the land and its products, which the Diggers identified as mere robbery: “[t]he third Beast…is the thieving Art of buying and selling, the Earth with her fruits one to another.” (25) The clergy is another means to keep the people intimidated and thus, subordinated: “[t]he fourth Beast is the Imaginary Clergy-Power.” (26)

The Diggers proclaimed that the clergy, lawyers and judges are the synergies of land-owners in stealing from people what is their birthright and keeping the people oppressed by means of intimidation. They proclaimed the very law to be a means of subordinating people: “… what Law then can you make to take hold upon us, but laws of oppression and tyranny, that shall enslave or spill the blood of the innocent? And so yourselves, your judges, lawyers, and justices, shall be found to be the greatest transgressors, in, and over mankind.” (Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, vol. II: Prose, 397). Moreover, they proclaimed the whole system of government to be essentially corrupted and sustain itself through the act of stealing from people their natural right:
… the power of the murdering, and thieving sword, formerly, as well as now of late years, hath set up a government, and maintains that government; for what are prisons, and putting others to death, but the power of the sword to enforce people to that government which was got by conquest and sword, and cannot stand of itself, but by the same murdering power?
(Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, vol. II: Prose, 397)
According to the Diggers, land-owners are the real thieves, since they acquired property through violence. Likewise, they argued that “Parliament and army lives in theft” (Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, in Divine Right and Democracy. An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England, 322). They argued that the land should be common to all and thus, acquiring land is but the result of stealing.

Moreover, the Diggers argued that power structures (the king, the law, propriety and the clergy) are not independent from each other, but interconnected to each other:
Kingly power depends upon the Law, and upon buying and selling; and these three depend upon the Clergy, to bewitch the people to conforme; and all of them depend upon kingly power by his force, to compell subjection from those that will not be bewitched.
But when mankinde once sees, that his teacher and ruler is within him; then what need is there of a teacher and a ruler without; they will easily cast off their burden.
(Winstanley, Fire in the Bush. The Spirit burning, not consuming, but purging Mankinde, 33)
Thus, they called people to unite their collective powers for the annihilation of all of these constructions that have been invented and used for the exploitation of the people arguing that “…the Creation, will never be in quiet, peace, till these foure Beasts, with all their heads and hornes, the variety of their branching powers doe run into the Sea againe, and be swallowed upbin those waters;” (27)
The Diggers urged the people to act against oppressors and their power structures in a non-violent way. Although they realised the need for a revolution, they opposed the use of violence, since they identified violence with power. Thus, they argued that any society constructed through the use of violence will necessarily be based in power structures again and thus, it would be no different to the existing society. “And the power of the sword fighting and killing, cannot throw downe his Kingdome, but set it up in more power; But that power that must destroy the dark kingdome, is a power contrary to him; And that is, Love and patience.” (Winstanley, Fire in the Bush. The Spirit burning, not consuming, but purging Mankinde, 10) The Diggers collated the power of love to that of violence. Their aim was to create a classless society based in secularism and radical democracy through seizing the land and holding it in the ‘common good’, without employing any violent means:
We abhor fighting for freedom: it is acting of the curse and lifting him up higher; and do thou uphold it by the sword, we will not. We will conquer by love and patience, or else we count it no freedom. Freedom gotten by the sword is an established bondage to some part or other of the creation, and this we have declared publicly enough. […] Victory that is gotten by the sword is a victory that slaves get one over another, […] But victory obtained by love is a victory for a king.
(Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, 321)

Instead of violence, the Diggers employed the written word as a means of resistance. They published and distributed pamphlets in order to communicate their thoughts of an ideal society, in which everybody would be equal, no hierarchical structures would exist and the land would be common for all. Their speech was immediate and clear, able to communicate the ideas and the experience of the writer and to identify the reader with the writer: “A revolutionary program of labor withdrawal would abolish the deferential hierarchy of landlord, tenant, and wage laborer, and replace a verbal economy of one-sided domineering questioning with reciprocal speech. If country lyric shows us the client’s deferential address to a patron, then the Digger pamphlet shows us one behatted fellow creature addressing another, face to face.” (Holstun, 392)

The most known writer of such pamphlets is Gerrard Winstanley, who employed a deeply theological discourse to argue for the abolition of private property and the self-organisation of society in communes. Winstanely maintained for the existence of god beyond traditional religious believes, arguing for people’s unmediated communication with god. He claimed that since god had made everybody equal, the land should be common for all and he asserted that the only true god was the god of love and not the punisher god that the priests created in order to serve the interests of the landowners and the gentry. Winstanley provided an alternative reading of the scriptures by arguing that one should not read the scriptures literally, but metaphorically. Thus, he claimed that the dualistic nature of God consists in universal love and covetousness or particular love. (Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, 318) Winstanley interpreted Christ to be universal love, which seeks to provide for everybody and renders everybody equal, whereas he associated covetousness or particular love with Satan and argued that this is to be found amidst landowners, kings, the clergy, lawyers, judges, and every figure or institution that has power and exercises sovereignty.

The publishing and the distribution of pamphlets had been the main weapon in the hands of the Diggers for raising the awareness of the people against their oppressors. However, words could have not been an adequate means of revolution. The Diggers did not favour speech over actions. Besides, they were very well aware of the fact that they had to act in order to survive famine and poverty. Therefore, they took action against the system of their oppression and the danger of their own physical death by self-organising into communes.

The Diggers argued that if the people of England organised themselves into self-sufficient communes, the ruling class would be abolished without employing any violent means. In a society of self-organisation, there would be no people to hire to labour the fields or pay rent to them in order to use their property and thus, the ruling class would be forced to join the communes. Moreover, in the case that everything belonged to everybody, theft would be devoid of any meaning:
And if everyone did but quietly enjoy the earth for food and raiment, there would be no wars, prisons, nor gallows, and this action which man calls theft would be no sin, for universal love never made it a sin, but the power of covetousness made that a sin, and made law to punish it, though he himself live in that sin in a higher manner than he [whom he] hangs or punishes.
(Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, 322)

Putting their own words into practice, a small group of Diggers settled in 1649 on common land at St George’s Hill and grew crops. At a time when food-prices were extremely high, the Diggers commune had invited “all to come in and help them, and promise them meat, drink and clothes.” (Hill, The World Turned Upside Down, 110) The Diggers promised
…it will be peace to your selves, and make England the most flourishing, and strongest Land in the world and the first of Nations that shall begin to give up their Crown and Scepter, their Dominion and Government into the hands of Jesus Christ.
The cause is this, we, amongst others of the common people that have been ever friends to the Parliament, as we are assured our enemies wil witness to it, have plowed and dig’d upon Georges Hill in Surrey, to sow corn for the succour of man, offering no offence to any, but do carry our selves in love and peace towards all, having no intent to meddle with any mans inclosures, or propriety, til it be freely given to us by themselves, but only to improve the Commons and waste Lands to our best advantage, for the relief of our selves and others, being moved thereunto by the Reason hereafter following, not expecting any to be much offended, in regard the cause is so just and upright.
(An Appeal to the House of Commons, Desiring their Answer: Whether the Common-people shall have the quiet enjoyment of the Commons and Waste Land; Or whether they shall be under the will of Lords of Mannors still, 4)
They also distributed pamphlets and tried to bring mere people in their side. Thus, there opponents were afraid that “they have some design in hand.” (Hill, The World Turned Upside Down, 110) They managed to defy the landlords, the army and the law for more than a year. Their main propagandist was Gerard Winstanley. The local landowners called the commander of the New Model Army, Sir Thomas Fairfax, to suppress the Diggers´ commune. Faifax arrived with his troops, but he decided that they were harmless and advised the landowners to apply to the court. The lord of the manor organised gangs and attacked the Diggers´ commune. A court case took place against the Diggers, who were not allowed to speak in order to defend themselves. The court found them guilty of being Ranters, a radical group, which was associated with liberal sexuality. As a result, the land was taken from them and they left St George’s Hill, since they realised that in case they remained there, the army would have forced them to leave, since they were found guilty by the court.

Some of the Diggers moved to Little Heath, where they formed another commune. They cultivated the land, built houses and grew crops. At the same time, they published and distributed pamphlets. Once again, the lord of the manor fought them by preventing local people from helping them and by directing attacks against them. The Diggers were forced to leave Little Heath.

Another community of Diggers was located in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, where nine Diggers were arrested and imprisoned in 1650, whereas no charged were founded against them. Another community of Diggers was established in Iver in Buckinghamshire.

It is not surprising the fact that the Diggers movement had emerged under conditions of serious political and economic insecurity. After all, “[h]unger…always has a political potential as well as an existential reality, and it can help produce class consciousness and revolutionary action.” (Holstun, 371) At a time when the government proved incapable of confronting the hazardous economic circumstances and fighting poverty and famine, the Diggers proposed the erection of self-sustain communes. The Digger communes were constructed by the people affected by poverty and formed an active and dynamic endeavour on the side of the poor and landless people to sustain themselves. The alternative structures proposed and realised by the Diggers, against their imminent extinction by famine, generated “…a significant distinction between a passive death inside the customary order of the Roman polis, and an active death that attempts to transform the polis and the sorts of hunger it produces“(Holstun, 372)

The ruling class faced a severe threat by the acts of the Diggers, who proclaimed land to be a common right to everyone in an age when land and its commodities formed the most important means of wealth. The aristocracy would be abolished in case all the poor followed the example of the Diggers and launched their own communities, self-organising and setting themselves free of the economic, social, legal and religious constraints that preserved a class of people in power. In Holstun’s words, “[t]he hungry poor articulate themselves with utopian force, trying to end not only their hunger but also the social structure that allows it to exist in the first place. Their hunger has ears, a voice, and a rational revolutionary potential.” (Holstun, 373-4)

Although the Diggers didn't accomplish their aspirations, their ideas survived and re-emerged through a hippy culture, which developed in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in 1965. The new culture, which was arisen against the economic and social differences of several alienated Americans, developed a strong sense of community and advocated for the power of love. In the autumn of 1966, the Diggers of Haight-Ashbury emerged. They distributed free food, which was provided by individuals and collected from the leftovers of local markets. The Diggers' attained two farms for the establishment of self-organising communes, the members of which used to give what they produced to the other people.

Instead of merely digging the land, the Diggers of the 1960s attempted to realise their agenda for social reformation through art and more specifically, theatre, advocating for a cultural revolution. The anarchist guerrilla street theatre group challenged the emerging counterculture of the sixties. The Diggers were one of the legendary groups in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, one of the world-wide epicentres of the sixties counterculture. The San Francisco Diggers evolved out of two radical traditions that thrived in the mid-1960s: the bohemian/underground art/theatre scene, and the New Left/civil rights/peace movement.

The Diggers combined street theatre, direct action, and art happenings in their social agenda of creating a Free City. Their most famous activities revolved around distributing Free Food every day in the Park, and distributing "surplus energy" at a series of Free Stores (where everything was free for the taking.) The Diggers coined various slogans that worked their way into the counterculture and the larger society; the most famous are "Do your own thing" and "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." The Diggers realised their agenda though various activities: they were baking whole wheat bread at the Free Bakery, which was available for free, they organised a Free Medical Clinic, distributed free food, organised theatre performances and other happenings in the streets. Moreover, they organised communal celebrations of natural planetary events, such as the Solstices and Equinoxes.

First and foremost, the Diggers were actors. Their stage was the streets and parks of the Haight-Ashbury, and later the whole city of San Francisco. The Diggers had evolved out of the radicalizing maelstrom that was the San Francisco Mime Troupe, which R.G. Davis had founded the previous decade. The Diggers performed in the parks of the city, giving free performances on stages thrown up the day of the show. However, their agenda was a clearly a political one, advocating for the destruction of private property
Peter Berg, ex-San Francisco Mime Trouper, founder of the Digger Free Store, “Trip Without a Ticket,” starts to talk…The message: Property is the enemy – burn it, destroy it, give it away. Don’t let them make a machine out of you, get out of the system, do your thing. Don’t organize students, teachers, Negroes, organize your head. Find out where you are, what you want to do and go out and do it…
(Hoffman, 34-35)

The Diggers of the 1960s aspired the same ideals as the original Diggers, arguing for a spirit of universal love, which was alleged to be able to unite people together and organise society into alternative structures. The new Diggers argued also for the abolition of all hierarchical structures and the organisation of society in egalitarian communes: “…believe in participatory democracy…, only you call it ‘everyone doing his thing.’ You let people decide, no strings attached.” (Hoffman, 28) They rejected property too “…stand for the destruction of property. There are many ways to destroy property: to change is to destroy – give it away free. The free thing (another clue) is the most revolutionary thing in America today.” (Hoffman, 28) Like their ancestors, they organised themselves in self-sustained communes and they prompted their agenda through the publishing and distribution of pamphlets. The Diggers distributed by hand manifestos and leaflets in Haight Street, promoting an alternative life style, based on self-organisation.

They argued for the formation of “free cities,”
Free Cities are composed of Free Families (e.g., in San Francisco: Diggers, Black Panthers, Provos [substitute "Red Guards" in Ringolevio], Mission Rebels and various revolutionist gangs and communes) who establish and maintain services that provide a base of freedom for autonomous groups to carry out their programs without having to hassle for food, printing facilities, trans- portation, mechanics, money, housing, working space, clothes, ma- chinery, trucks, etc.
(The Digger Papers)

“Free cities” would be cities organized in non-hierarchical structures, run by Free City Switchboard/ Information Center, which would coordinate all services, activities, and aid and direct assistance where it would be most needed. They would also provide a reference point for legal aid, housing, machinery, etc. Free Food Storage and Distribution Center would provide free food to everybody:
Free Food Storage and Distribution Center should hit every available source of free food--produce markets, farmers' markets, meat-packing plants, farms, dairies, sheep and cattle ranches, agricultural colleges, and giant institutions (for the uneaten vats of food)--and fill up their trucks with the surplus by begging, borrowing, stealing, forming liaisons and communications with delivery drivers for the leftovers from their routes . . . best method is to work in two shifts: morning group picks up the foodstuffs and the afternoon shift delivers it to the list of Free Families and the poor peoples of the ghettos. everyday. hard work.
(The Digger Papers)
There would also be Free City Garage and Mechanics to repair and maintain all vehicles used in the various services. Free City Bank and Treasury would be responsible for raising money, paying rents, paying for gasoline, and any other necessary expenses of the Free City Families. The Free City Legal Assistance would beat down the police harassment and brutality of the areas of the Free Cities. Free City Housing and Work Space would be responsible to rent or achieve deals with the government to obtain spaces that have been abandoned and use them as carpentry shops, garages, theaters, etc. In the Free City Stores and Workshops nothing would be throwaway items. Free Medical Things would be established in all poverty areas and run by private physicians and free from any bureaucratic support. The Free City Bank should try to cover the expenses, and pharmaceutical houses should be hit for medical supplies, etc. The Free City Hospital would be “a house converted into bed space and preferably with a garden and used for convalescence and people whose minds have been blown or who have just been released from a state institution and who need the comfort and solace of their people rather than the cold alienated walls of an urban institution.” (The Digger Papers) Free City Schools would be schools designed and run by different groups according to the consciousness of their Free Families. The Free City News and Communication Company would provide a daily newspaper, monthly magazine, as well as free printing. Moreover, there would be Free City Events, Festival Planning Committees. Cooperative Farms and Campsites would be run by experienced people and set on Free Land. The farms would produce organic food for the families, whereas some free land that could not be used for farming would be used as campsites for citizens and children. The Scavenger Corps and Transport Gang would be responsible for garbage collection and the picking up and delivery of items to the various services. Free City Tinkers and Gunsmiths would repair and include experienced repairmen of all sorts, electricians, carpenters, etc. In addition, there would be Free City Radio, TV and Computer Stations, as well as Free City Music.

Diggers assumed free stores to liberate human nature. Their mentality was based on “first free the space, goods and services. Let theories of economics follow social facts. Once a free store is assumed, human wanting and giving, needing and taking, become wide open to improvisation.” (The Digger Papers) The “Digger thing" of offering goods and services outside of the existing exchange system spread into the entire hippy community. The Diggers developed into a new social and economic system, into a new morality, which set itself in opposition to the industrial capitalism's marketplace morality.

In 1967 the movement of the Diggers begun to exercise pressure on the existing social and political orders by advocating for the need for revolution. The Diggers were not content with the course of their culture, since they yearned for a radical alteration of the existing system, a replacement of the old hierarchal structures with new, alternative structures based on volunteerism, self-organisation and co-operation. The following quote of a Digger leaflet distributed in May, 1967 is characteristic:
. . . well love is a slop-bucket and we are the children of awareness but our courage has not yet manifested itself within our floating community. We put down the merchants, the bullshitters, the hustlers and we sit around and it's all the same and there's nothing new under the sun and free food seems a long time gone because we're playing the game of the 193O's, we're the new cry babies and james dean's tears have finally taken root in a shallow weak kneed series of cabals which expect someone to take care of their living . . . some revolution.
(Digger Manifestos)
The movement of the Diggers was becoming more mature. The Diggers were becoming more conscious of the reality of the existing system, a system, which refuses and evades love. They were becoming more cognisant of the power of the system of competitive industrial capitalism, which was posing a threat over their own community.

The Diggers aspired that the whole community would alter its structures adopting the new morality proposed by them. Among the community there were however some people, who understood the new system to form merely a "community service". Inevitably, a split occurred within the new community. The split led to the ultimate dissolution of the new community of the Diggers.

The changes proposed by the Diggers (both the original Diggers as well as the Diggers of the 1960s) were indeed a necessity. The Diggers questioned the institutions of the state and the system of property, as well as the institution of the church. The Diggers questioned the existing order in its totality. The Diggers alleged that the commonwealth would prove to be the ideal system of civil service and thus, everybody would voluntarily participate in it. The Diggers, although organised and with a clear agenda, failed to realise their targets. But the Diggers alone could have not implemented the social, political and economic changes they proposed. Thus, they were condemned to fail in the realisation of their ideas. The Diggers (both the Diggers of England and the Diggers of San Francisco) however did constitute a threat for the ruling class not because of any violent means employed in the revolution, but because of their ability to use the knowledge gained through local experience for the purposes of their national project for the abolition of all hierarchical structures. In Holstun’s words,
The Diggers threatened the landed ruling class precisely because they inserted local knowledge into a national revolutionary project: preaching and publishing epistles to other disaffected tenants and wage laborers, to the Army, to Parliament, to London, to the universities; forming links among the scattered Digger communes; and developing a program for revolution based in a transformation of productive relations at the local level.
(Holstun, 393)



Bibliography:
------------------ Digger Manifestos, at http://www.diggers.org/site_map.htm
------------------ The Digger Papers, at http://www.diggers.org/site_map.htm
Hill, Christopher. Levellers and True Levellers in The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas
During the English Revolution (London: Penguin. 1972; repr. 1991)

Hoffman, Abbie. Revolution for the Hell of It (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press. 2005)
Holstun, James. Ehud’s Dagger (London & New York: Verso. 2000; repr. 2002)
Katsiaficas, George. The Imagination of the New Left: A Global Analysis of 1968
Rogers, John. The Power of Matter in the English Revolution and Marvell, Winstanley, and the
Natural History of the Green Age in The Matter of Revolution: Science, Poetry, and Politics in the Age of Milton (New York: Cornell University of Press. 1998)

Sim, Stuart & Walker, David. The Discourse of Sovereignty, Hobbes to Fielding (Ashgate
Publishing, Ltd)

Shulman, George M. Radicalism and Reverence: The Political Thought of Gerrard
Winstanley (Berkeley: University of California Press. 1989).
http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft4b69n8wx/

Spritzler, David. Winstanley & the Diggers. The Spiritual and Political Story of a Seventeenth
Century Communist Movement. www.newdemocracyworld.org/Diggers.PDF

Winstanley, Gerrard. A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview
Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose (eds. Rudrum Alan, Black Joseph & Nelson Holly Faith), vol. II: Prose (Broadview Press. 2001)

Winstanley, Gerrard. A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and Armie (1650) in
Divine Rights & Democracy. An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England (ed. Wootton David) (Indianapolis/ Cambridge: Hockett Publishing. 1986)

Winstanley, Gerrard. Fire in the Bush. The Split burning, not consuming, but purging Mankinde.

Winstanley, Gerrard. An Appeal to the House of Commons, Desiring their Answer: Whether the
Common-people shall have the quiet enjoyment of the Commons and Waste Land; Or whether they shall be under the will of Lords of Mannors still.

The True Levellers, or the Diggers: Arguing for the Abolition of Private Property in a Theological Discourse.

… the King of Righteousness, our Maker,
hath enlightened our hearts so far,
as to see that the earth was not made
purposely for you to be lords of it,
and we to be your slaves, servants, and beggars;
but it was made to be a common livelihood to all,
without respect of persons.

(Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England, 395-6)


The True Levellers’ or the Diggers’ movement emerged after the fading of the Levellers’ faction. The Levellers’ ideas were developed in the ranks of the New Model Army, which was formed by Oliver Cromwell in 1645 and defeated the royalist forces led by Charles I. The Putney Debates, a series of meetings between the soldiers and generals of the New Model Army after the civil war, in 1646, involved Leveller ideas. In the Putney Debates Levellers primarily argued for universal suffrage. Moreover, Levellers argued that all men are equal and therefore, the people (both rich and poor) should elect the government. Their programme, which also included a secular republic, abolition of the House of Lords, equality before the law, the abolition of censorship, freedom of speech, the right for people to worship whatever religion they chose and free trade, was published as “The Agreement of the People.” The eruption of the civil war in 1647 allowed the generals to reaffirm their authority, whereas the influence of Levellers began to diminish. Leveller soldiers attempted to revolt in Oxfordshire in 1649, but their attempt was cruelly suppressed by Cromwell’s soldiers.


In 1649 a group, which called themselves the “True Levellers” and maintained more radical ideas than the Levellers, emerged. The True Levellers became known as “the Diggers” once they put their ideas into practice and begun to cultivate the land in a communal way. The digging was not a merely symbolic deed, but a deeply political act, since the Diggers argued for a reformation of the society based on an agrarian lifestyle, which involved the formation of small egalitarian communities.

The Diggers´ views were embedded in the belief that England had become subject to the “Norman Yoke.” It was a common belief that prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066, a democratic society had existed in Anglo-Saxon times, during which the land was common to all the people. The Diggers argued that since God had made all men equal, the land belonged to everybody. Their agenda formed an attempt to establish a commonwealth in which the people would control their own destinies and there would be no space for any King, House of Lords, or any other possible oppressors. The Diggers argued that the only way to achieve this commonwealth is the abolition of private property, which they considered to be the source of all evils and wretchedness. The agenda of the Diggers, as stated in A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England, a pamphlet that the Diggers had published and distributed, was that they
…being creatures of your own image and mould, intending no other matter herein, but to observe the law of righteous action, endeavouring to shut out of the creation the cursed thing, called particular propriety, which is the cause of all wars, bloodshed, theft, and enslaving laws, that hold the people under misery.
Signed for and in behalf of all the poor oppressed people of England, and the whole world.
(Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England, 399)

The Diggers used to publish and distribute pamphlets in order to communicate their ideas for an ideal society, in which everybody would be equal, no hierarchical structures would exist and the land would be common for all. The most known writer of such pamphlets is Gerrard Winstanley, who employs a deeply theological discourse to argue for the abolition of private property and the self-organisation of society in communes. Winstanely maintains for the existence of god beyond traditional religious believes, arguing for people’s unmediated communication with god. He claims that since god has made everybody equal, the land should be common for all and he asserts that the only true god is the god of love and not the punisher god that the priests created in order to serve the interests of the landowners and the gentry.

For Winstanley, private propriety has been attained “by murder and theft,” (396), whereas money is “the mark of the Beast” (396), since “buying and selling is the great cheat that robs and steals the earth one from another: It is that which makes some lords, other beggars, some rulers, others to be ruled; and makes great murderers and thieves to be imprisoners and hangers of little ones, or of sincere-hearted men.” (397) Winstanley’s equation of the acquisition of private property with “murder and theft” denotes the Diggers’ concept of equality as a natural human right. More specifically, Winstanley understands land to be common for everybody, while he considers private property to be the result of murder and theft, since land-owners attained it through the use of violence and while depriving other people their right to it:
For though you and your ancestors got your propriety by murder and theft, and you keep it by the same power from us, that have an equal right to the land with you, by the righteous law of creation, yet we shall have no occasion of quarrelling (as you do) about the disturbing devil, called particular propriety. For the earth, with all her fruits of corn, cattle, and such like, was made to be a common storehouse of livelihood to all mankind, friend and foe, without exception.
(396)

Winstanley ascribes equality to divine will, arguing that god has intended everybody to be equal and the land to be common to all. On the other hand, he associates propriety with devil, defining it as “the disturbing devil” and “the cursed thing,” a product of devilish deeds and war:
… the King of Righteousness, our Maker, hath enlightened our hearts so far, as to see that the earth was not made purposely for you to be lords of it, and we to be your slaves, servants, and beggars; but it was made to be a common livelihood to all, without respect of persons: And that your buying and selling of land, and the fruits of it, one to another, is the cursed thing, and was brought in by war; which hath, and still does establish murder, and theft, in the hands of some branches of mankind over others, which is the greatest outward burden, and unrighteous power, that the creation groans under: For the power of enclosing land, and owning propriety, was brought into the creation by your ancestors by the sword; which first did murder their fellow creatures, men, and after plunder or steal away their land, and left this land successively to you, their children. And therefore, though you did not kill or thieve, yet you hold that cursed thing in your hand, by the power of the sword; and so you justify the wicked deeds of your fathers;
(395 – 396)

The Diggers argue that property is but theft and they seek to seize the land, in order to render it common for all the people, as it should be. Winstanley’s expression of “enclosing land” evokes Marx’s notion of “primitive accumulation.” By seizing specific parts of the land and establishing them as their private property, property holders enclosed the commons outside of their property and excluded them from using the land, which had been common. In order for this to be possible, the use of violence under the supervision of the state was required. The enclosing of land resulted in the creation of a new category of people, the waged labourers, who would have to earn their living through waged labour. Thus, people, who did not own property, became deprived of their freedom to cultivate the land. The overall rationale of the process of primitive accumulation is the privatisation of the means of production, which results to the construction of “capital” and renders the land owners able to take advantage of the surplus labour of the waged labourers, in order for them to earn money.

Diggers argue that the above process of primitive accumulation constitutes the legitimisation of theft through murder and has been possible because of the Norman Conquest and thus, they question any private rights to property. The Diggers aspire to use the earth so as to realise the natural right of all human beings to cultivate the land: “Therefore we require, and we resolve to take both common land and common woods to be a livelihood for us, and look upon you as equal with us, not above us, knowing very well that England the land of our nativity is to be a common treasury of livelihood to all, without respect of persons….” (398).

The Diggers oppose the use of violence and aim to create a classless society based in secularism and radical democracy through seizing land and holding it in the ‘common good’, without employing any violent means.
We abhor fighting for freedom: it is acting of the curse and lifting him up higher; and do thou uphold it by the sword, we will not. We will conquer by love and patience, or else we count it no freedom. Freedom gotten by the sword is an established bondage to some part or other of the creation, and this we have declared publicly enough. […] Victory that is gotten by the sword is a victory that slaves get one over another, […] But victory obtained by love is a victory for a king.
(Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, 321)
The Diggers argue that if the people of England organised themselves into self-sufficient communes, the ruling class would be abolished without employing any violent means. In a society of self-organisation, there would be no people to hire to labour the fields or pay rent to them in order to use their property and thus, the ruling class would be forced to join the communes. Moreover, in the case that everything belonged to everybody, theft would be devoid of any meaning:
And if everyone did but quietly enjoy the earth for food and raiment, there would be no wars, prisons, nor gallows, and this action which man calls theft would be no sin, for universal love never made it a sin, but the power of covetousness made that a sin, and made law to punish it, though he himself live in that sin in a higher manner than he [whom he] hangs or punishes.
(322)

The Diggers devaluate not only theft and propriety, but also money. They argue for the abolition of money, “… for buying and selling is the great cheat that robs and steals the earth one from another: It is that which makes some lords, others beggars, some rulers, others to be ruled; and makes great murderers and thieves to be imprisoners, and hangers of little ones, or of sincere-hearted men.” (Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England, 397). Thus, they claim that “… people shall live freely in the enjoyment of the Earth, without bringing the mark of the Beast in their hands, or in their promise; and that they shall buy wine and milk, without money, or without price, as Isaiah speaks.” (396 – 397).

The Diggers proclaim land-owners to be the real thieves, since they acquired property through violence. Likewise, they argue that “[p]arliament and army lives in theft” (Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, 322). They assert that the land should be common and thus, acquiring land is but the result of stealing. Moreover, they proclaim that the clergy, lawyers and judges are the synergies of land-owners in stealing from people what is their birthright and keeping the people oppressed by means of intimidation. They proclaim the very law to be a means of subordinating people: “… what Law then can you make to take hold upon us, but laws of oppression and tyranny, that shall enslave or spill the blood of the innocent? And so yourselves, your judges, lawyers, and justices, shall be found to be the greatest transgressors, in, and over mankind.” (Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England, 397). Moreover, they proclaim the whole system of government to be essentially corrupted and sustain itself through the act of stealing from people their natural right:
… the power of the murdering, and thieving sword, formerly, as well as now of late years, hath set up a government, and maintains that government; for what are prisons, and putting others to death, but the power of the sword to enforce people to that government which was got by conquest and sword, and cannot stand of itself, but by the same murdering power?
(397)

In order to realise their agenda and to put their ideas into practice, the Diggers organised communes on common land. The first commune was carried out in 1649, when a small group of Diggers settled on common land at St George’s Hill and grew crops. At a time when food-prices are extremely high, the Diggers commune invites “all to come in and help them, and promise them meat, drink and clothes.” (Hill, The World Turned Upside Down, 110) They also distribute pamphlets in an attempt to bring the people in their side. Thus, their opponents are afraid that “they have some design in hand.” (Hill, The World Turned Upside Down, 110) They manage to defy the landlords, the army and the law for more than a year. Their main propagandist is Gerard Winstanley. However, the commune is forced to fail by the local landowners, who become enraged against the Diggers’ plans. The local landowners call the commander of the New Model Army, Sir Thomas Fairfax, to suppress the Diggers´ commune. Faifax arrives with his troops, but he decides that they are harmless and advises the landowners to apply to the court. The lord of the manor organises gangs and attacks the Diggers´ commune. A court case takes place against the Diggers, who are not allowed to speak in order to defend themselves. The court finds them guilty of being Ranters, a radical group, which is associated with liberal sexuality. As a result, the land is taken from them and they leave St George’s Hill, since they realise that in case they remained there, the army would have forced them to leave, since they were found guilty by the court. Following this, the Diggers attempted to form other communes without however success, since all of them were suppressed by the local landowners. Although the agrarian vision of the Diggers seems to have failed, their pamphlets continue carrying the possibility to realise this vision in praxis, urging the people to stand up and claim back their right to the land.

Winstanley manages to merge the Diggers’ agrarian vision to religious vision, claiming for equality for all not only in the right to land, but in religious salvation as well:
The preaching clergy, or universative power, promises to save the creation declaratively, but he is a false Christ; he says and does not, Pharisee-like, but will force people to maintain him from the earth by their labours for his sayings, but the laws of the kingly power. He says some are elected to salvation and others are reprobated; he puts some into heaven, thrusts others into hell never to come out, and so he is not a universal saviour. That is no salvation to the creation, mankind, while any part groans for the true saviour. When he comes he will wipe away all tears. He comes not to destroy any but to save all.
(Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, 324)

Winstanley professes to be inspired by god and that he delivers the word of god, in order to legitimise his word: “… the King of Righteousness, our Maker, hath enlightened our hearts so far, as to see that the earth was not made purposely for you to be lords of it, and we to be your slaves, servants, and beggars; but it was made to be a common livelihood to all, without respect of persons.” (Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England, 395-6)

Winstanley argues that “Christ, the saviour of all men, is the greatest, first, and truest Leveller that ever was spoke of in the world.” (Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, 328)
The Diggers and particularly Winstanley gave religion a new concept. They accuse the current religious system of corruption, deceit and synergy with the power structures. However, they do not reject religious faith, but they provide an alternative reading of the scriptures. They argue that the existing system of the church is promoting ignorance and subordination of the people by employing the concept of divine punishment in order to promote the existing power structures.

Winstanley provides an alternative reading of the scriptures by arguing that one should not read the scriptures literally, but metaphorically. Thus, he claims that the dualistic nature of God consists in universal love and covetousness or particular love. (318) Winstanley interprets Christ to be universal love, which seeks to provide for everybody and renders everybody equal, whereas he associates covetousness or particular love with Satan and argues that this is to be found amidst landowners, kings, the clergy, lawyers, judges, and every figure or institution that has power and exercises sovereignty.

Winstanley rejects the Genesis myth of the apple as "a cheat imposed by the clergy upon the people." Winstanley's belief runs contrary to the orthodox position, which held the result of the Fall to be a general moral decay following Adam´s and Eve’s indulgence in pride. He associates the Fall with only one vice, private property, and thus, he mainly discusses the evils rising out of that vice.

Moreover, Winstanley advocates that there will be no Second Coming, since Christ's resurrection is to be found only inwardly, in all human beings. Hill argues that for Winstanley the antithesis between men transforming the world and Christ reappearing in person to do the job is a false one. Winstanley believes that the Second Coming has already begun and that because of this, people should not wait anymore to be filled with Christ, in order to take action. An external Messiah will not establish the Kingdom, since the Second Coming is achievable only through the individual spiritual transformation of men and women.

The main proof Winstanley gives for the validity of his message is that he has received it in a vision. On this subject, Hill does not deny that Winstanley really believes he has received a divine vision for his instructions. But, Hill thinks it proper to ask if Winstanley actually has received a vision. He describes Winstanley's vision as a "sudden mental clarification," a message so new that "he attributed it to a divine command." Hill maintains that many seventeenth-century men, who were not considered mystics have claimed to have had visions. Thus, visions and dreams in the seventeenth century may have been the explanations given for "sudden mental clarification" after arduous periods of contemplation over difficult subjects. Hill suggests Winstanley may have had such an experience. Since "rational men" do not believe in supernatural visions today, Hill asserts that historians ought to seek alternative explanations for evidence of such occurrences. Supernatural explanations do not convince him.

Winstanley associates the Diggers´ agenda of an agrarian vision with religious vision in arguing that god has created all the people to be equal and the land to be common to everybody. Winstanley gives a unique dynamique to the Diggers´ discourse by ascribing equality to divine will, arguing that god has intended everybody to be equal and the land to be common for all. Despite the fact that the agrarian vision of the Diggers has failed in praxis, their discourse continues to convey the prospect of the realisation of such a vision, forcing the people to stand up and claim back their own right to the land.


Bibliography:

Hill, Christopher. Levellers and True Levellers in The World Turned Upside Down: Radical
Ideas During the English Revolution (London: Penguin. 1972; repr. 1991)

Levy, Michael B. Freedom, Property and the Levellers: the Case of John Lilburne, in The
Western Political Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 1 (University of Utah on behalf of the Western Political Science Association. 1983) http://www.jstor,org/stable/447848

Winstanley, Gerrard. A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The
Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose (eds. Rudrum Alan, Black Joseph & Nelson Holly Faith), vol. II: Prose (Broadview Press. 2001)

Winstanley, Gerrard. A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and Armie (1650) in Divine
Rights & Democracy. An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England (ed. Wootton David) (Indianapolis/ Cambridge: Hockett Publishing. 1986)

The True Levellers, or the Diggers.

Levellers

The New Model Army was formed by Oliver Cromwell in 1645 and defeated the royalist forces led by Charles I. The Levellers’ ideas were developed in the ranks of the New Model Army. The Putney Debates, a series of meetings between the soldiers and generals of the New Model Army after the civil war in 1646, involved Leveller ideas. In the Putney Debates Levellers argued for universal suffrage. Levellers argued that all men are equal and therefore, the people (both rich and poor) should elect the government. Their programme, which included a secular republic, abolition of the House of Lords, the right to vote for all, equality before the law, the abolition of censorship, freedom of speech, the right for people to worship whatever religion they chose and free trade, was published as “The Agreement of the People.” The eruption of the civil war in 1647 allowed the generals to reaffirm their authority, whereas the influence of Levellers began to diminish. Leveller soldiers attempted to revolt in Oxfordshire in 1649, but their attempt was cruelly suppressed by Cromwell’s soldiers.


True Levellers

In 1649 a group, which called themselves the “True Levellers” and which had more radical ideas that the Levellers, emerged. The “True Levellers” became known as the Diggers once they put their ideas into practice and begun to cultivate the land in a communal way. The digging was not a merely symbolic deed, but a deeply political act, since the Diggers argued for a reformation of the society based on an agrarian lifestyle, which involved the formation of small egalitarian communities.


The Diggers´ agenda

The Diggers´ views were embedded in the belief that England had become subject to the “Norman Yoke.” It was a common belief that prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066, a democratic society had existed in Anglo-Saxon times, during which the land was common to all people. The Diggers argued that since God had made all men equal, the land belonged to all the people. Their agenda formed an attempt to restore the conditions that they assumed had existed previous to the Norman Conquest. Their aim was to establish a commonwealth in which the people would control their own destiny and there would be no space for any King, House of Lords and any other possible oppressors.

…intending no other matter herein, but to observe the law of righteous action, endeavouring to shut out of the creation the cursed thing, called particular propriety, which is the cause of all wars, bloodshed, theft, and enslaving laws, that hold the people under misery.
Signed for and in behalf of all the poor oppressed people of England, and the whole world.
(Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, vol. II: Prose, 399)

The Diggers argued that property is but slavery and they sought to seize the land, in order to render it common for all the people.
… the King of Righteousness, our Maker, hath enlightened our hearts so far, as to see that the earth was not made purposely for you to be lords of it, and we to be your slaves, servants, and beggars; but it was made to be a common livelihood to all, without respect of persons: And that your buying and selling of land, and the fruits of it, one to another, is the cursed thing, and was brought in by war; which hath, and still does establish murder, and theft, in the hands of some branches of mankind over others, which is the greatest outward burden, and unrighteous power, that the creation groans under: For the power of enclosing land, and owning propriety, was brought into the creation by your ancestors by the sword; which first did murder their fellow creatures, men, and after plunder or steal away their land, and left this land successively to you, their children. And therefore, though you did not kill or thieve, yet you hold that cursed thing in your hand, by the power of the sword; and so you justify the wicked deeds of your fathers;
(Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, vol. II: Prose, 395 – 396)

They aspired to use the earth so as to retrieve the freedom that they considered had been lost in the course of the Norman Conquest: “Therefore we require, and we resolve to take both common land and common woods to be a livelihood for us, and look upon you as equal with us, not above us, knowing very well that England the land of our nativity is to be a common treasury of livelihood to all, without respect of persons….” (Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, vol. II: Prose, 398).

The Diggers opposed the use of violence and aimed to create a classless society based in secularism and radical democracy through seizing land and holding it in the ‘common good’, without employing any violent means.
We abhor fighting for freedom: it is acting of the curse and lifting him up higher; and do thou uphold it by the sword, we will not. We will conquer by love and patience, or else we count it no freedom. Freedom gotten by the sword is an established bondage to some part or other of the creation, and this we have declared publicly enough. […] Victory that is gotten by the sword is a victory that slaves get one over another, […] But victory obtained by love is a victory for a king.
(Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, in Divine Right and Democracy. An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England, 321)
The Diggers argued that if the people of England organised themselves into self-sufficient communes, the ruling class would be abolished without employing any violent means. In a society of self-organisation, there would be no people to hire to labour the fields or pay rent to them in order to use their property and thus, the ruling class would be forced to join the communes.

Moreover, the Diggers argued for the abolition of money, “… for buying and selling is the great cheat that robs and steals the earth one from another: It is that which makes some lords, others beggars, some rulers, others to be ruled; and makes great murderers and thieves to be imprisoners, and hangers of little ones, or of sincere-hearted men.” (Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, vol. II: Prose, 397). Thus, they argued that “… people shall live freely in the enjoyment of the Earth, without bringing the mark of the Beast in their hands, or in their promise; and that they shall buy wine and milk, without money, or without price, as Isaiah speaks.” (Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, vol. II: Prose, 396 – 397).

The Diggers proclaimed land-owners to be the real thieves, since they acquired property through violence. Likewise, they argued that “[p]arliament and army lives in theft” (Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, in Divine Right and Democracy. An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England, 322). They argued that the land should be common and thus, acquiring land is but the result of stealing. Moreover, they proclaimed that the clergy, lawyers and judges are the synergies of land-owners in stealing from people what is their birthright and keeping the people oppressed by means of intimidation. They proclaimed the very law to be a means of subordinating people: “… what Law then can you make to take hold upon us, but laws of oppression and tyranny, that shall enslave or spill the blood of the innocent? And so yourselves, your judges, lawyers, and justices, shall be found to be the greatest transgressors, in, and over mankind.” (Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, vol. II: Prose, 397). Moreover, they proclaimed the whole system of government to be essentially corrupted and sustain itself through the act of stealing from people their natural right:
… the power of the murdering, and thieving sword, formerly, as well as now of late years, hath set up a government, and maintains that government; for what are prisons, and putting others to death, but the power of the sword to enforce people to that government which was got by conquest and sword, and cannot stand of itself, but by the same murdering power?
(Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England in The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, vol. II: Prose, 397)


The Diggers´ Communes

A small group of Diggers settled in 1649 on common land at St George’s Hill and grew crops. At a time when food-prices were extremely high, the Diggers commune had invited “all to come in and help them, and promise them meat, drink and clothes.” (Hill, The World Turned Upside Down, 110) They also distributed pamphlets and tried to bring mere people in their side. Thus, there opponents were afraid that “they have some design in hand.” (Hill, The World Turned Upside Down, 110) They managed to defy the landlords, the army and the law for more than a year. Their main propagandist was Gerard Winstanley. The local landowners called the commander of the New Model Army, Sir Thomas Fairfax, to suppress the Diggers´ commune. Faifax arrived with his troops, but he decided that they were harmless and advised the landowners to apply to the court. The lord of the manor organised gangs and attacked the Diggers´ commune. A court case took place against the Diggers, who were not allowed to speak in order to defend themselves. The court found them guilty of being Ranters, a radical group, which was associated with liberal sexuality. As a result, the land was taken from them and they left St George’s Hill, since they realised that in case they remained there, the army would have forced them to leave, since they were found guilty by the court.

Some of the Diggers moved to Little Heath, where they formed another commune. They cultivated the land, built houses and grew crops. At the same time, they published and distributed pamphlets. Once again, the lord of the manor fought them by preventing local people from helping them and by directing attacks against them. The Diggers were forced to leave Little Heath.

Another community of Diggers was located in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, where nine Diggers were arrested and imprisoned in 1650, whereas no charged were founded against them. Another community of Diggers was established in Iver in Buckinghamshire.


The Diggers and religion

Winstanley argues that “Christ, the saviour of all men, is the greatest, first, and truest Leveller that ever was spoke of in the world.” (Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, in Divine Right and Democracy. An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England, 328)

The Diggers and particularly Winstanley gave a new concept to religion. They accused the current religious system of corruption, deceit and synergy with the power structures. However, they did not reject religious faith, but they provided an alternative reading of the scriptures. They argued that the existing system of the church was promoting ignorance and subordination of the people by employing the concept of divine punishment in order to promote the existing power structures.
Winstanley provided an alternative reading of the scriptures by arguing that one should not read the scriptures literally, but metaphorically. Thus, he claimed that the dualistic nature of God consisted in universal love and covetousness or particular love. (Winstanley, A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and the Armie, in Divine Right and Democracy. An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England, 318) Winstanley interpreted Christ to be universal love, which seeks to provide for everybody and renders everybody equal, whereas he associated covetousness or particular love with Satan and argued that this is to be found in the landowners, kings, the clergy, lawyers, judges, and every figure or institution that has power and exercises sovereignty.

Winstanley rejected the Genesis myth of the apple as "a cheat imposed by the clergy upon the people." Winstanley's belief ran contrary to the orthodox position, which held the result of the Fall to be a general moral decay following Adam´s and Eve’s indulgence in pride. He associated the Fall with only one vice, private property and thus, he mainly discussed the evils rising out of that vice.

Moreover, Winstanley advocated that there will be no Second Coming, since Christ's resurrection is to be found only inwardly, in all men. Hill argues that for Winstanley the antithesis between men transforming the world and Christ reappearing in person to do the job is a false one. Winstanley believed the Second Coming had already begun and that because of this, men had merely to wait until they were filled with Christ, and then take action. An external Messiah would not establish the Kingdom; it would be through the individual spiritual transformation of men and women.

One of the proofs Winstanley gave for the validity of his message was that he had received it in a vision. On this subject, Hill does not deny that Winstanley believed he had received a divine vision for his instructions. But, Hill thinks it proper to ask if Winstanley actually did receive a vision. He describes Winstanley's vision as a "sudden mental clarification," a message so new that "he attributed it to a divine command." Hill maintains that many seventeenth-century men, who were not considered mystics claimed to have had visions. Thus, visions and dreams in the seventeenth century may have been the explanations given for "sudden mental clarification" after arduous periods of contemplation over difficult subjects. Hill suggests Winstanley may have had such an experience. Since "rational men" do not believe in supernatural visions today, Hill asserts that historians ought to seek alternative explanations for evidence of such occurrences. Supernatural explanations do not convince him.

Winstanley argued that Christ created all people equal and the land to be common to everybody, and thus, he associated the Diggers´ agenda with the divine plan.


The Diggers of the 1960s

The anarchist guerrilla street theatre group challenged the emerging counterculture of the sixties. The Diggers were one of the legendary groups in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, one of the world-wide epicentres of the sixties counterculture. The San Francisco Diggers evolved out of two radical traditions that thrived in the mid-1960s: the bohemian/underground art/theatre scene, and the New Left/civil rights/peace movement.

The Diggers combined street theatre, anarchic direct action, and art happenings in their social agenda of creating a Free City. Their most famous activities revolved around distributing Free Food every day in the Park, and distributing "surplus energy" at a series of Free Stores (where everything was free for the taking.) The Diggers coined various slogans that worked their way into the counterculture and the larger society; the most famous are "Do your own thing" and "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." The Diggers realised their agenda though various activities: they were baking whole wheat bread at the Free Bakery, which was available for free, they organised a Free Medical Clinic, distributed free food, organised theatre performances and other happenings in the streets. Moreover, they organised communal celebrations of natural planetary events, such as the Solstices and Equinoxes.

First and foremost, the Diggers were actors. Their stage was the streets and parks of the Haight-Ashbury, and later the whole city of San Francisco. The Diggers had evolved out of the radicalizing maelstrom that was the San Francisco Mime Troupe which R.G. Davis had founded the previous decade. The Diggers performed in the parks of the city, giving free performances on stages thrown up the day of the show.
The Diggers distributed by hand manifestos and leaflets in Haight Street, promoting an alternative life style, based on self-organisation.